Kara Blanchard, a senior at Chesapeake High School in Pasadena, is a good student. She plays multiple sports including lacrosse and basketball and this past December, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Kara had been experiencing numbness in her legs and blurred vision when she went to see doctors. Shortly after the diagnosis, she told her basketball coach Maria Gray.
Coach Gray said she immediately looked into the Cougars schedule to see when they could host a game to honor and support Kara. That’s when she reached out to Kristofer Dean.
Dean, Coach of Glen Burnie women’s basketball and Phys. Ed. Teacher and Chesapeake Bay Middle School has experience with this exact kind of situation and was immediately onboard.
One of his players was also diagnosed with MS when he was coaching at Vestal High School in New York. Dean said his girls were “very supportive of the cause” when he was asked to participate in the “S’wishing for a Cure” game at Chesapeake.
The event included a group practice between the two teams and a joint dinner where both schools participated in making orange ribbons to sell during the game. A silent auction and orange “Cougars for Kara” t-shirts were also used to raise money and last week, Kara got an unexpected surprise.
While selling the orange shirts during school lunch hours, Baltimore Ravens Crockett Gilmore and Brandon Williams made a surprise appearance. They signed shirts for students who purchased them and helped bring more awareness to the event. Kara works at Seaside, a popular restaurant in Glen Burnie and a favorite spot for Gilmore and Williams. When they learned about Kara’s diagnosis, Gilmore said they “were willing to do anything to help support her. She has a contagious personality.”
Williams and Gilmore were both in attendance for Chesapeake’s game and Williams even announced the starting lineup for both teams. The crowd Erupted in a frenzy when Blanchard was announced last and that enthusiasm didn’t let up as the Cougars won 62-43.
After graduation, Kara is excited to be attending La Salle University in Philidelphia where she will be playing lacrosse. After reaching out to her future coaches, all of them are supporting her and have told her that this should have no bearing on her status with the team.
The goal for funds was $3,232, Kara wears #32, but the events raised an estimated $5,000, all of which will be donated to the National MS society. Chesapeake has also formed a team for the MS charity walk on April 29th in Baltimore. Coach Gray is very appreciative of the support other teams in the county have shown for Kara, “We’d like to extend our thanks to the Pasadena community and beyond for the outpouring of support for Kara and all those diagnosed with MS. It was an unforgettable night.”